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The Philippines and SE Asia Region
The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7100 islands, most of which are of volcanic origin. After Magellan's death there in 1521, the Philippines were re-claimed for Spain by Lopez de Legazpi in 1564. The islands gained independence from Spain in mid-1898, but were soon occupied by the US and, from 1942 through 1944, by Japan. True independence did not come until 1946. The population of the Philippines has increased dramatically in recent years and now exceeds 91 million. Its land area approximates that of Italy.
The Philippines ranks relatively low in the total number of eruptions, but their impact has been high, reflecting its population density. More than 110 million people live within 100 km of a Holocene volcano in the Philippines and SE Asia, 2nd highest of the world's regions, trailing only Indonesia, and the Philippines and SE Asia consistently ranks within the top three globally of residents living with 5, 10, 30, and 100 km of both Holocene volcanoes and volcanoes with eruptions since 1500 AD. More than 13% of Philippine eruptions have resulted in fatalities, and more than 21% in damage, with the notable Taal and Mayon volcanoes having particularly high human impact. As with Indonesia, though, this record reflects the many years prior to the development of a strong government agency charged with the study of volcanism. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) now maintains a modern monitoring program on most of the islands' volcanoes, and the evacuation table testifies to their effectiveness in dealing with recent eruptions.
The tectonics of the Philippines are not simple, but most volcanoes result from convergence of the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate. In the south the former is subducted westward under the latter, but in the north the opposite pattern prevails. Mudflows (lahars) are also frequently associated with Philippine eruptions, and remain a hazard long after the eruption ceases. Heavy rains in this typhoon-plagued archipelago regularly redistribute new volcanic tephra to surrounding lowlands. Secondary mudflows following the 1991 Pinatubo eruption have been especially devastating, partially or totally burying towns and villages and destroying the homes of more than 100,000 people. More than a half dozen primary or secondary lahars from Mayon volcano have caused fatalities, including most recently 1266 dead or missing due to post-eruptive lahars caused by a November 30, 2006 typhoon following the July to October 2006 eruption of Mayon. Tsunamis have accompanied 4.5% of eruptions in the Philippines, a proportion that is not itself high but one that exceeds all other regions. Burma, only recently recognized as an area of Holocene volcanism, became part of the British Empire in 1886 after several wars. The British withdrew in WW-II and granted independence in 1948. Unrest has followed, and the country's 1988 name change to Myanmar has been widely but not universally accepted. Vietnam, another mainland part of Region 07 with several Holocene volcanoes, has also undergone political unrest. It was a province of China from the 1st century BC to 939 AD, and missionary work, particularly by the French, began in the 17th century. French troops captured Saigon in 1859, the rest of Cochin-China (South Vietnam) within 8 years, and North Vietnam by 1887. After Japanese occupation during WW-II, nationalist forces defeated the French in 1954 and the US in 1975. The CAVW originally designated region 07 as Philippines only, but Cochin-China was added upon publication of the catalog in 1954, and our expansion to SE Asia followed recognition of Holocene volcanism in Burma (Myanmar) and SE China, where young volcanism has occurred at Tengchong near the border with Burma and in islands bordering the Gulf of Tonkin.
List of Holocene volcanoes in the Philippines and SE Asia region.